The Ugly Beats
Brand New Day (Get Hip)
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., Aug. 8, 2014
The Ugly BeatsBrand New Day (Get Hip Recordings)
All too easy to take the Ugly Beats for granted. That's due as much to their contemporary folk-punk sheen as to the musicians' affable personalities. Overlooking them – egregious error. Leader Joe Emery and Daniel Wilcox's guitars veer closer to Roger McGuinn's jangle action than the usual fuzztone snarls, while the frontman's vocals evoke Buddy Holly's adenoidal plea far more than the lonesome polecat strut of a Jagger. Jeanine Attaway's Farfisa organ is the band's bedrock, yet the clean-cut sonics don't mean the Ugly Beats' music hops all sunny days and lollipops. The overall mood of Brand New Day is melancholic (the title track, "All of the Things," "Braced for the Fall"), with a dose of yearning ("I Want That Girl," "Gone for Good"), and a dollop of pleading ("Throw Me a Line"). Add an appropriately adult cover of Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter" and by far the best song written for fallen local guitar hero Nick Curran ("Up on the Sun"): "No time to reflect, no time for past mistakes/ ... Come what may, if I have my way, you'll find me out on top of the sun." The results highlight a silver lining obscuring a black cloud – with a beat.